League Preview: Waterford -v- Shelbourne

Goalscorer Sean Boyd (left) celebrates with Kameron Ledwidge

Goalscorer Sean Boyd (left) celebrates with Kameron Ledwidge Credit: Paul Dolan (ETPhotos)


High flying Waterford will test their credentials once again on Thursday night when they host league leaders Shelbourne at the Regional Sports Centre (RSC) in their 21st game of the season, KO 7.45pm

The Blues have been the surprise team of the season without doubt, building on their promotion from the First Division last season to forge their way into a top four slot and potential European football next year.

They are currently on the same points total as title aspirants Shamrock Rovers, 31, and are only nine points adrift of Shels with a game in hand over the current leaders.

There are goals aplenty in this Waterford team and their current tally of 30 is only two less than the league’s highest scorers Derry City who have netted 32 goals, albeit with two additional games played.

Keith Long’s side have scored four goals in four games this season, a statistic matched by no other side in the league, with three of those four goal hauls coming in front of their home fans at the RSC.

Their most recent was a 4-1 mauling of Sligo Rovers at the RSC last weekend, where Ben McCormack, Conor Parsons and Padraig Amond (2) were on the scoresheet.

Long shared his thoughts on the clash with Shelbourne when he spoke to the Waterford media team this week.

He said “Our focus is all about improving game on game. We want to continue to gel performance-wise and continue to improve as a squad.

The depth of our squad has been challenged – missing some key players, but those that have come in have taken their opportunity with shows the value of the squad.’’


‘’It’s no longer a game of 1-11, but having a squad that has people ready to take their opportunity when it comes around.

The support at home at the RSC has been brilliant in recent weeks. We want that to continue again on Thursday. We want big games at the RSC, and we need our supporters to back us again like they done massively lately.’’


‘’Shelbourne are a good side; Top of the league for a reason with good players. They’re a highly motivated and well organised side. It’s a tough task ahead of us but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”



Shelbourne will be anxious to go into the mid-season break still on top of the table and to do so they will need to overcome the formidable challenge likely to be posed by the Blues  on Thursday night.

Shels are currently on 40 points after 21 games and have won four of their last five games, certainly title winning form from Damian Duff’s side.

The one loss in that five-game sequence was at home to Sligo Rovers, but other than that dip in form, they have managed to overcome almost all challenges posed along their way to the top of the table.

They were certainly not at their best last weekend when they scraped a 1-0 win at home to basement side Dundalk, but, as ever, the sign of a good team is one that is able to get results while not firing on all cylinders.

It took until the 71st minute before they broke the resistance of the Lilywhites last Friday night, but once John Martin’s goal went in, they never really looked like conceding an equaliser and they duly picked up all three points.

Duff was full of praise for their opponents this Thursday night when he spoke to the Shelbourne media team this week.

 He said “I told the guys today that it’s such a dangerous game for us, just look at their squad, their results, their performances. They have a lot of dangerous players, would get into many teams around the league. Padraig Amond is one of the best in the league—what a signing he’s been for them. Full of confidence, scoring for fun. We know what’s at stake and understand the dangers, it’s about matching that now.”

In terms of an end of term report, Duff added “I think we’ve improved as the season has gone on, that’s been a theme since I’ve been here, the team has grown as the season progresses.’’

‘’Over recent weeks, we laid a challenge down to the guys on lifting levels for non-derby games, we saw that with wins over Waterford and Dundalk, a lot of the display against Sligo, it wasn’t the result we wanted, we gave away poor goals but the performance was dominant.’’

“We can’t always rely on the crowd to get us up for games outside of the derbies. We need to find that in us. It’s a squad game too. The subs need to be ready. Last week, we were ultra-dominant, and it was very similar against Waterford in Tolka.’’

Referee: Robert Harvey



Padraig Amond’s two goal haul against Sligo Rovers last weekend has moved him to the top of the Premier Division goal scorers chart, sharing that spot with Dundalk’s Pat Hoban with both on eleven goals so far this season.

Shelbourne’s Will Jarvis and Sean Boyd are in joint fourth spot with seven goals apiece while Waterford’s Maleace Asamoah is hot on their heels with six goals to his credit.


Waterford 1 1 Shelbourne




Injured: Barry Baggley, Maleace Asamoah

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None



Injured:  None

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None

Unavailable: Lewis Temple (Leaving Cert Exams)